by Art Chantry (

morticia addams. carolyn jones. vampira. lurch. house of wax. vincent price. herman munster. 60′s TV. batman. frank gorshin, get smart. the man from uncle. james bond. ursula andrews. pussy galore. jill st. john. carolyn jones. MORTICIA!!!…morticia had been around in charles addams comics in the new york past. when they proposed a tv show, he had to name all his characters (except lurch. that already existed in his comics, i think.) i think). so, he called her MORTICIA – out of the blue. she was based on his old girlfriend from back when he started his comics. you should see photos of that old girlfriend – she WAS morticia. it’s surprising how close it is….


i was under ten when i given a paperback collection of his stuff called ‘drawn & quartered.” i was totally into monsters and i flipped out. i bought as many of those paperback collection books as i could find on the racks in the grocery stores. still have them, too. one of the few things i managed to save from those years….in the original comics, the ‘gomez’ character (un -nammed) was little more than a weird looking foil for the characters surrounding him. he was almost always a mute participant and was just plain weird. i read that charles addams had the worst time trying to come up with a personality and a name for that character above all – because he was so ill-defined. thank god john astin (a comic genius) was there to flesh gomez out….

…jackie coogan was also brilliant in his role. after his odd career as a child star and a heavy in noir film, it was a real surprise when he literally became fester. amazing stuff….when i was a little kid and the addams family was on the air along with the munsters, i was an addams family snob. it thought the munsters were cheap ripoff imitation of the far superior addams family. i went so far as to derisively refer to the munsters as “the monsters’ (i thought that was clever when i was 10, i guess.) those cool paperbacks had totally sold me on charles addams by then. now, that i’m older, i see them both as totally separate exploitation devices. i actually prefer to watch the munsters re-runs just for the herman/grandpa schtick….

…another one of the (many) subtle little inside jokes was the casting of carolyn jones (and her ENORMOUS eyes) was a great gag in itself. this was the era when the walter and margaret keane paintings of those big-eyed waifs (and the bazillion imitators like eve and gig) was at it’s very zenith. the appearance of carolyn jones as morticia was an inside reference/joke. she looked just like an EVIL keane child. it was not lost on the more sophisticated viewers at the time….it’s sort of like the whole mark ryden/christina ricci/wednesday addams fetish. the carolyn jones/keane joke is where that one started. it’s like a culture snowball rolling downhill….gomez/fester team were more modern – like martin and lewis or even rowan and martin….herman/grandpa were more like laurel and hardy or abbott and costello….


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